Asthma is a chronic (long-term) condition that causes the airways to become inflamed and narrow. Symptoms of an asthma attack include coughing, periods of wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
Asthma affects the quality of life for more than 25 million Americans, including an estimated 4 million children. Although there is no cure for asthma yet, asthma can be controlled through medical treatment and management of environmental triggers. EPA is committed to educating all Americans about asthma so that everyone knows what asthma is, how the environment can affect asthma patients, and how to manage environmental asthma triggers.
• In 2020, the prevalence of asthma in children was 5.8 percent, meaning about 1 in 17 children had asthma
• In 2013, approximately 13.8 million missed school days were reported due to asthma.
• Non-Hispanic Blacks have a higher asthma mortality rate than people of other races or ethnicities.
• According to the CDC’s 2020 summary of asthma mortality data, non-Hispanic Black Americans have a higher asthma death rate - at 28.7 deaths per million persons - than non-Hispanic whites (10.8 deaths per million persons), Hispanics (7.3 deaths per million persons), and other non-Hispanics (7.2 deaths per million persons).
Who might get asthma …
While no one knows for sure why some people develop asthma and others don't, we do know that it is a combination of your family history and your environment.
There is no cure for asthma. Once you have asthma, you will have the disease for the rest of your life. But with proper care, you can lead a healthy, productive, fully active life - Quality of Life is your goal.
Our Environment plays a big role …
Reducing exposure to environmental factors, such as indoor asthma triggers, is important for asthma management.
• On average, Americans spend about 90 percent of their time indoors.
• Indoor environmental factors called asthma triggers - such as dust mites, mold, cockroaches, pet dander and secondhand smoke - can exacerbate asthma symptoms.
• With an asthma action plan that includes medical treatment and control of environmental triggers, people with asthma can lead healthy, active lives.
There are two main types of FDA-approved medications used to treat asthma: quick-relief medications and medications intended for long-term control.
Quick-relief medications work fast to treat sudden symptoms at the onset of an asthma attack or flare-up. They are inhaled to help relax the muscles of your airways and provide quick relief of symptoms during an asthma attack.
Long-term control medications are used on a regular basis to reduce the inflammation and constriction of the airways that cause asthma symptoms. They can be taken orally, injected, or inhaled.